Course Information

Who is the course for?

Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is a card scheme to prove the skills of plant operators. CPCS is the largest and most highly recognised card scheme for the plant industry. It helps to prove workers’ operating skills and health and safety awareness.

At the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre (CSIC) at Cannington, we deliver CPCS training on all types of plant, including 360 Excavator, Ride-on Roller, Lorry Loader, Telehandler, Forward Tipping Dumper, Rear Tipping Dumper, and much more! 

We offer training and testing in over 25 CPCS categories, providing you with the Trained Operator Red Card and assessment in relevant NVQs eligible for the Competent Operator Blue Card.

Employers who are registered with CITB-Construction Skills may be eligible for grant funding upon successful completion of these courses.

What does the course involve?

CPCS Trained Operator Card or Competent Card

  • Health and safety test (must be within two years of renewal or adding a category to an existing card)
  • Theory test is voice recorded
  • Practical test

Novice candidate

Learners will need us to take them through their basic CPCS training as a novice, place them on a theory test and book them onto the practical test. If they are successful in both elements of the CPCS Training they will get a RED CPCS card.

After a period of practical experience, we will provide learners with the necessary documentation to start on their NVQ. Once the NVQ has been completed they can then apply for a BLUE CPCS card.

Experienced candidate

As an experienced operator but do not hold a CPCS card, learners will need to take and pass both the theory and practical tests.

Health and Safety Testing

All new applicants, and those adding a category or renewing a CPCS card, must have an understanding and knowledge of current basic health and safety as demonstrated through holding a Construction Skills Health and Safety Test pass that has been passed within the last two years.

The only exception to this rule is for operators resident in Southern Ireland (with an Eire equivalent national insurance number) who hold a valid FAS Safepass that is in date.

The majority of categories require a minimum of the Core Test which consists of multiple-choice questions on general health and safety awareness, but the Supervisor, Manager and Managerial and Professional Tests which are higher level tests are also acceptable. The Demolition Test is an acceptable alternative to the Core. The only exceptions to this are as follows:

  • The Appointed Person category A61, requires the Manager or Managerial and Professional Tests to be taken
  • The Crane/Lifting Operations Supervisor category A62 requires the Supervisory Test to be taken, but the Managerial and Professional Test is also acceptable. 

Theory Test

The CPCS Theory Test is part of the suite of CPCS Technical Tests. It has been set by CPCS to test underpinning knowledge and understanding directly related to a CPCS category. The CPCS Theory Test incorporates questions relating to:

  • Underpinning knowledge and understanding
  • Specific category and environment related health and safety
  • Operator's rights and responsibilities
  • Pre-start checks
  • Use of the operator's manual and machine use

The CPCS Theory Test is set at two levels:

  • The CPCS Standard Theory Test is part of the CPCS requirements for individuals applying for their first CPCS Operator Card or for those adding a category to a current CPCS Operator Card
  • The CPCS Advance Theory Test is part of CPCS requirements for individuals applying for their first CPCS Tester or Trainer Card or for those adding a category to a current CPCS Tester or Trainer Card, but is accepted as an alternative to the CPCS Standard Practical Test for CPCS Operator cards

Practical Test

The CPCS Practical Test is part of the suite of CPCS Technical Tests. It has been set by CPCS to test operating ability of individuals through a series of practical activities based on core operating skills.

The CPCS Practical Test is set at two levels:

  • The CPCS Standard Practical Test is part of CPCS requirements of individuals applying for their first CPCS Operator Card and for those adding a category to a current CPCS Operator Card
  • The CPCS Advanced Practical Test is part of CPCS requirements for individuals apply for their first CPCS Tester or Trainer card or for those adding a category to a current CPCS Tester or Trainer card. It is also accepted as an alternative to the CPCS Standard Practical Test for CPCS Operator cards.

There is a CPCS Practical Test for each category, but for categories with endorsements, the endorsement must be specified and the test taken on the appropriate piece of plant. The CPCS Practical Test achievement will be given at the level of the endorsement.

The appropriate Construction Skills Health and Safety Test for the category of plant must be passed before the CPCS Practical Test is attempted. The Construction Skills Health and Safety Test is valid for two years from date of achievement for the purpose of progressions onto the CPCS Practical Test.

The CPCS Theory Test must be passed before a CPCS Practical Test is taken and is valid for six months from the date of achievement for the purpose of progression onto the CPCS Practical Test. This applies to those taking the Standard Theory Test for an Operator Card. The rules are different if you are taking the Advanced Theory Test.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)

In order to move from a trained operator (RED CARD) through to a competent operator (BLUE CARD) evidence will need to be provided of practical abilities and working knowledge of the industry. Practical abilities should be relatively easy to assess and the assessor could complete in one visit, but will be required to provide additional tangible evidence in the knowledge of site procedures, security, company procedures etc.

Theory and Practical Tests available at the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre

  • A16 Industrial Forklift Truck
  • A17A, B, C - Telescopic Handler
  • A25 Mobile Elevating Work Platform - Scissor
  • A26 Mobile Elevating Work Platform - Boom
  • A26B Mobile Elevating Work Platform - Boom Self Propelled
  • A31 Ride-on Roller
  • A34 Crawler - Tractor/Dozer
  • A36 Lorry Loader
  • A36A Lorry Loader - Hook
  • A36B Lorry Loader - Bucket
  • A36C Lorry Loader - Clamp
  • A40 Slinger/Signaller
  • A41 Loader Compressor
  • A56 Dump Truck – Articulated Chassis
  • A56A Dump Truck – Articulated Chassis - Up to 15 tonnes
  • A56B Dump Truck – Articulated Chassis – All sizes
  • A57 Dump Truck – Rigid Chassis
  • A57A Dump Truck – Rigid Chassis – Up to 15 tonnes
  • A57B Dump Truck – Rigid Chassis – Up to 50 tonnes
  • A57C Dump Truck – Rigid Chassis – All sizes (wheeled)
  • A61 Appointed Person – Lifting Operations
  • A62 Crane/Lifting Operations Supervisor
  • A73 Plant and Vehicle Marshaller
  • A97 360° Excavator below 10 tonnes – Lifting Operations
  • A98 360° Excavator above 10 tonnes – Lifting Operations

To book a test or for further information, please call 01278 655004 or email csic@bridgwater.ac.uk

Further Information